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Francis E. Caldwell - Beyond the Trails With Herb and Lois Crisler

p. viii: Map of the "Crisler Traverse" through the Bailey Range, from Appleton Pass to Elwha Basin and Chicago Camp, then westward to Kimta Basin.

p. 2: Herb Crisler was born July 23, 1893 at Elberton, Elbert County, Georgia. The Army sent him to the Olympic Peninsula in 1918, where they needed his skills as a photographer. After the Armistice, Crisler and his first wife Muriel decided to remain in Port Angeles.

p. 19: William "Billy" Everett was born in 1868, the son of Peninsula pioneer John Everett. Billy's mother, a Clallam Indian, died in childbirth, and John was away from home hunting much of the time, so Billy was raised by a maternal aunt and uncle, a Clallam by the name of Boston Charlie, until he was old enough to accompany his father. He became an extraordinary hunter, explorer and mountain man. Before the O'Neil party began exploring the interior of the Olympic Mountains in 1885, Billy had discovered the Catwalk and penetrated as far as Cream Lake in the Bailey Range. (See notes on p. 25 and 51.)

Olympic Hot Springs was discovered in 1892 by Andrew Jacobson while on a hunting trip. In 1907, Billy Everett, Thomas Farrell and Charles Anderson rediscovered the hot springs. Farrell staked a mineral claim and later Everett became owner. He slashed a trail from the Elwha River and built a cabin and bath house. With a partner, Carl Schoeffel, they operated and improved the resort for many years. Around 1925, Harry Schoeffel bought out Carl's interest. The Schoeffels operated Olympic Hot Springs Resort until it closed on December 31, 1966.

p. 24: In the summer of 1924, Herb Crisler made his first trip along the Bailey Range to Cream Lake with Ed Halberg, Verne Samuelson, Al Knight and Reverend Goude of Port Angeles. Crisler made his first motion-picture film, From the Mountains to the Sea, after this trip.

p. 31: From August 18 to September 15, 1930, Herb Crisler completed a thirty day solo "survival trip," hiking from Olympic Hot Springs along the Bailey Range to the Quinault River, with no food or gun. The trip began with a careless boast and took on a life of its own after the Seattle Times offered to pay Crisler $500 for the story. The author describes the trip in detail.

p. 91: Herb Crisler married his second wife Lois on December 7, 1941 (p. 80). They spent their first winter together at Hume's Ranch, a homestead on the Elwha River. Following the U.S. entry into World War II, the government instructed the Forest Service to man strategic lookouts on the Peninsula to watch for enemy aircraft. Herb and Lois Crisler volunteered to occupy the Hurricane Hill lookout during the winter of 1942-43. There is a photo of the lookout on p. 91 and a description of life in the lookout on p. 92.

In the early 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed a road (which the author calls the Wolf Creek Trail) from Whiskey Bend on the Elwha River to the top of Hurricane Ridge. In 1950, the Park Service began constructing the Heart of the Hills road, which climbs Hurricane Ridge from the northeast and was opened to the public in 1958. The Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center was constructed before the Heart of the Hills road was completed, using materials hauled up the Wolf Creek Trail by truck. After the Heart of the Hills road was upgraded in 1970, the Wolf Creek Trail was decommissioned as a road, and is maintained as a trail by the Park Service.

p. 102: Herb learned to ski during the winter the Crislers spent at the Hurricane Hill lookout. Lois was already an experienced skier. Friends from Seattle expressed a desire to come to the Olympics and ski, but the difficulties of skiing on Hurricane Ridge were rather daunting. Around 1943-44, Herb built a lean-to shelter halfway up the Wolf Creek Trail and called it Halfway House. He discovered a well-hidden cabin in the timber below the Hurricane Hill lookout, fixed it up and called it the Ski Lair. On p. 103 is a photo (probably taken by Hazle Chapman) of Carol Preston and Helen Rupp on skis outside the Ski Lair.

The remainder of the book describes Herb and Lois Crisler's career as wildlife film-makers. Herb Crisler made several more trips across the Bailey Range, including one in 1947 with 79 year-old Billy Everett (p. 128). In 1973, Herb Crisler made his last traverse of the Bailey Range at age 80 (p. 208).

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Last Updated: Sun Sep 14 12:50:30 PST 2003